Will King wasn't thinking about any record. His main goal was to put Northwestern in position to win.
So with 1:33 left in the third quarter Friday, the Trojans nursing a 14-7 lead over scrappy York, King faced a difficult decision. Looking at a fourth-and-8 from the Cougars' 17-yard-line, King could either try to pick up a first down or tell his coach he wanted to try a field goal.
"I think coach (Jimmy) Wallace trusts my arm more than my foot," said King, recognizing his status as the Trojans' place-kicker, pressed into emergency service three weeks ago. "I don't blame him."
King jogged back to the huddle, took the snap and waited as long as he dared in the face of York's pass-rush. The seam popped open for a split second, King saw the linebacker charging late and zipped a spiral right through the flat.
Labris Adams caught it in the end zone and the Trojans never looked back, rolling past York 34-20 and keeping their perfect Region 3-AAAA season alive.
"We just went for it and it worked out for us," King shrugged.
The Trojans' senior signal-caller ended up with the school's single-season passing yardage record anyway, completing 30-of-38 throws for 261 yards. His four touchdowns left him only one score short of tying the school single-season TD record, but more importantly, the performance elevated Northwestern to a lofty position.
With their seventh straight win, the Trojans (7-1, 4-0 Region 3-AAAA) control their destiny. They play non-conference Hillcrest next before finishing the regular season against in-city rivals South Pointe and Rock Hill.
"We just got to keep focused, and not to worry about what's ahead," King said. "The next one's the most important."
The Trojans took a quick 14-0 lead before York notched a touchdown just before halftime. King cruised along, completing his first 13 throws, before a few dropped passes and throwaways caused a slight slump.
But he rebounded to throw three touchdowns in the second half, two to Cordarrelle Patterson, and the Trojans took a 34-7 lead with just under 10 minutes to play. That should have been the game, but York (3-5, 1-2) never got the message.
Led by quarterback Adrion Crawford and a never-ending supply of ball-carriers, the Cougars scored two touchdowns before Northwestern's Jonathon Spurgeon picked up his third interception of the night. The Trojans ran out the clock while York, after giving the ball to a whopping six tailbacks and nine receivers, had to be satisfied with a tough effort.
"Our kids always play hard," York coach John Barrett said. "They're a great football team, but we ain't too bad ourselves."
King also ended up the Trojans' leading rusher, with 37 yards on four carries. He would have had 20 more yards, but a bad snap sailed over his head and he wisely fell on it instead of trying to pick it up and run.
"I knew coming into the game what I had to get," King said of his new record. "We just got to keep that mindset and keep playing together, and we'll be all right."
"We've got to play better," Trojans coach Wallace said. "Their kids played up to the very end. We gave up a little bit out there defensively that we didn't want to."